Merrillville Community Planetarium
Bringing the Universe to the Merrillville Schools and Northwest Indiana

MCP News

The Indiana State Planetarium Meeting is March 18th at Carmel Planetarium

The Indiana State Planetarium Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 18th at Carmel Planetarium located in Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana. Keith Turner is the Planetarium Director at Carmel and has organized this year’s meeting. Many people from Merrillville Community Planetarium will be in attendance. Mr. Williams, the Planetarium Director, various faculty, and staff members including 12 to 15 Student Assistants from Pierce Middle School and Merrillville High School will spend the day learning about the latest technology for planetariums and other planetariums in our area.

Planetarium Statistics for 2004-2005 School Year

In the 2004-2005 school year, the Planetarium showed 699 programs. The Sun’s Family, a third grade show, was chosen the most at 54 times. Forty-four different programs were selected throughout the year. The most shows given in one month was 96 shows in May; 74 were for Merrillville classes and 22 were for outside groups. The most popular month for outside groups was April with 90 shows overall; 47 were for outside groups and 37 were for Merrillville classes.

Student Assistant Commutes from Lowell

Russ Brayfield is a 15-year old freshman at Lowell High School and a 2nd year assistant at Merrillville Community Planetarium. Russ moved from Merrillville to Lowell in May, but continues to work in the planetarium. “I love working here!” he says. He attends group and public shows, and comes after school to do various behind-the-scenes jobs. Russ used to live two blocks away, now his mother drives him the long distance from Lowell as often as possible. Next year he’s getting a car so he can come to the planetarium everyday. His parents encourage and support his involvement in the planetarium and promise to help with his gas expenses next year.

Planetarium Represented at the GLPA Conference

Many of the faculty, staff, and student assistants from the planetarium attended the 41st Annual Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) conference held in Grand Rapids, Michigan and hosted by the Public Museum of Grand Rapids. The conference is for planetariums professionals in the Great Lakes area, but people come from all over the world to share new and innovative ideas for planetariums. New technologies, programs, and creative ideas are shared during the 4-day conference through lectures, demonstrations, workshops, and planetarium shows.

Planetarium Chosen for NASA's Space Place Program

Merrillville Community Planetarium has been selected to participate in NASA’s Space Place display program. Space Place has been developed for children and adults to share the space program. In communities all over the country there are planetariums, museums, and libraries participating in the program. A special display board with Space Place borders, and a varying collection of NASA posters, stickers, and lithographs are part of the Space Place. Local news items, astronomy events, children's art, and other information are added to the displays.

New Planetarium Program: Wilbear's Adventure

Wilbear’s Adventure is a new planetarium show for children and will be presented as the Fall Public Show for October 2005. The story is about a young teddy bear who wants to fly. The program includes some mythology, history of flight, and a few winged constellations.

STS-114 Rescheduled for launch

It is official. The countdown clock for NASA's Return to Flight is rolling again, after over a week of downtime. Discovery was given a green light for a potential launch on Tuesday for the Return to Flight STS-114 mission.

Return to Flight: STS-114 Delayed

After a low-level fuel sensor failed and cancelled the launch this past Wednesday, NASA officials are remaining optimistic that a launch will still happen in July. If they do not launch before July 31st, they will not be able to launch until September of this year, at the earliest.

Merrillville to Host Planetarium Conference in Fall 2006

The Merrillville Community School Corporation and the Merrillville Community Planetarium have been selected to host the 2006 Conference of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association. The conference will be held over four days in late October. More than 100 planetarium people from the midwest are expected to attend the annual conference.

MCP Website Receives an Upgrade

The Merrillville Community Planetarium introduced its new website as of January 1st. The new website provides information on all of the shows MCP offers, as well as easier navigation and a more pleasant appearance. Planning for the new website began about four months ago and was executed by two former Student Assistants, Tom Dobes and Steve Sumichrast.

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